BMW Launches Amphibious Mini Cooper Yachtsman

By Jonathan Spira on 1 April 2012
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BMW’s Mini USA unit will unveil an amphibious Mini at the New York International Auto Show this week.  The Mini Cooper Yachtsman will make its debut at a pier alongside the Hudson River.

The Mini Cooper Yachtsman is not the first amphibious Mini.  That honor goes to a Mini Moke that crossed the River Thames in the 1968 film Salt and Pepper starring Sammy Davis Jr. and Peter Lawford and it was followed by the Aqua Mini, a four-paddle-wheel-drive vehicle that was entered in the 1977 River Severn Raft Race.

Citing the fact that 70% of the earth’s surface is covered by water, BMW clearly sees this as an underserved market.  The Mini Cooper Yachtsman is fitted with a shark-resistant undercoating (standard) and is capable of speeds of up to 61 knots.  Mini promises a “rewarding driving (but not diving) experience” on-road or off-land.

“Our exciting Mini Cooper Yachtsman is the ultimate extension of the Mini brand, expanding our line-up to seven models in the USA and offering consumers even more ways to enjoy MINI ownership in a manner best-suited to their individual taste and location,” said Jim McDowell, vice president of Mini USA, in introducing the new vehicle.

The new Mini goes on sale today, April 1st.  It is 169.8” in length and comes with Reef Blue metallic silver alloy wheels and matching silver rudder.  The exhaust snorkel comes in Reef Blue as well and the extendable rooftop antenna does double duty as it is fitted with a “get-you-home” 20-foot white sail, which allows for zero-emissions sailing with the right wind.

The Mini Yachtsman sleeps or seats two and has waterproof rip-stop upholstery, seat cushions that double as flotation devices, and a Marine Chronometer for celestial navigation.  Addressing the needs of younger Mini customers, it also comes with Mini-branded water wings, a pirate flag, and an eye patch.

Safety equipment includes FLOAT (the Frantic Lever Operated Active Trim) and a spring-loaded herring chucker.

The new Mini has a price of $236,000 and comes with a “fully incomprehensible warranty” that includes three-year no-cost moorage, annual dry-docking, and free barnacle removal, the latter apparently being limited to the original captain although the April 1 news release does not make it clear if the barnacles are to be removed from the Mini or the captain.


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